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Last Updated on 09 Jul 2018

Author: Paschalis Paschidis

CAPInv. 473: hoi synetheis


i. Geographical area Macedonia
ii. Region Bottia
iii. Site Edessa


i. Full name (original language) οἱ συνήθεις (EKM II 131, l. 4)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi synetheis


i. Date(s) 52 AD


ii. Name elements
Other:synetheis: The common term συνήθεις, synetheis, with its connotations of familiarity, company and brotherhood, is the only terminology used for the association and its members (on the reading and interpretation of ll. 4-5, see XII.i: Comments, below).


i. Source(s) EKM II 131 (AD 52, ca. January)
Note SEG 46: 744. See also: GRA I 65
Online Resources SEG 46: 744 and AGRW ID 15397
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Greek dedicatory inscription
i.c. Physical format(s) Stele bearing a relief of an eagle
ii. Source(s) provenance The stele was found at the foothills of Hagios Loukas, near the northern cemetery of Lower Edessa (Chrysostomou 2013: 97). It has been suggested that the sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos was located there (Chrysostomou 1996: 33-4).


v. Other staff The ἐπιμεληταί, epimeletai(ll. 4-5; on the reading and interpretation, see XII.i: Comments, below) were most often simply members responsible for specific duties (in this case for erecting the monument), and not necessarily officials of the association stricto sensu (Nigdelis 2008: 203), if not otherwise noted (as is the case with the association of Zeus Hypsistos at Pydna (CAPInv. 41).


i. Number The names of 12 members are recorded, including the two epimeletai who erected the monument and the deceased, but excluding the priest, who was most probably a priest of the cult, whose name served for dating purposes and was thus not necessarily a member of the association.
The disposition of the text on the stone implies that this is the complete roster of the association.
ii. Gender Men
Note One of the members was a woman (l. 12).
iv. Status One of the two epimeletai and six of the other ten members (including the deceased) were Roman citizens. With one exception, all the Roman citizens of the list bore non-Latin, cognomina, some of which were popular slave names (Νάρκισσος, Ἄλυπος, Ἑρμέρως, Narkissos, Alypos, Hermeros); thus the preponderance of non-imperial and often unusual nomina may point not to families of Italian traders and notables but to their freedmen.
v. Relations The deceased and another member (l. 14) bore the same praenomen and nomen and were thus probably related.


iv. Honours/Other activities As so often in the context of religious associations, the only source we have is a funerary monument for one of the members, presumably paid for by the association.


i. Local interaction The priest whose name served for dating purposes (ll. 18-19) was most probably the official priest of the cult and not specifically a priest of the association.
The relatively rare nomen Liburnius (l. 9) is born by another dedicant to Zeus Hypsistos at Edessa (Chrysostomou 1996: 32, no. 5), probably dating from the same period. The two may be related.


i. Comments All previous editors of EKM II 131 have read ll. 4-5 as οἱ συνήθεις ἐπιμεληταὶ Σ. Ποσιδωνίου, hoi synetheis epimeletai S. Posidoniou, etc. (see GRA I 65). Even if one ignores the change from nominative to genitive, and the highly improbable onomastic formula (praenomen and cognomen without the nomen), the fact remains that the phrase οἱ συνήθεις ἐπιμεληταί, hoi synetheis epimeletai, does not make sense. We should therefore probably read οἱ συνήθεις, ἐπιμεληταῖς (hoi synetheis, epimeletais, with the latter word in the dative) followed by the names of the epimeletai in the genitive.
iii. Bibliography Chrysostomou, A. (2013), Αρχαία Έδεσσα: τα νεκροταφεία. Athens
Chrysostomou, P. (1989-1991), ‘Η λατρεία του Δία ως καιρικού θεού στη Θεσσαλία και στη Μακεδονία’, AD 44-46: 21-72, esp. 31-2, no. 3.


i. Private association Certain
Note Although this group of worshipers of Zeus Hypsistos does not appear to have officials or a detailed hierarchy, the fact that it has a collective name with connotations of intimacy and familiarity indicates its associative nature, as was often the case with the cult of Zeus Hypsistos in Roman Macedonia.